Henderson senior standout Zach Jones now has six touchdowns in his last two game and seven overall on Bishop Shanahan’s natural grass field after a virtuoso performance Saturday afternoon as Henderson defeated its Ches Mont rival , 41-6, at Jack Mancini Field in Downingtown.
The senior speed demon first showed his star potential as a Henderson sophomore with a three-touchdown effort at Shanahan two years ago. He had the press box crowd shaking their heads again Saturday with four touchdowns - two on long pass receptions, one on an interception return and another on a 74-yard run from scrimmage during which he went through untouched on a right side counter and then dashed to paydirt.
That touchdown made the score 28-0 as Henderson cruised to victory for the second week in a row following the Week Three, home-field, shutout loss to Plymouth Whitemarsh, the lone blemish on the Warriors’ 4-1 record.
“Now we’ve got our heads on straight. We’ve figured out who we are,” said Jones, who was quick to give credit to his offensive line. “We’re playing together and that’s what we need.”
Jones’ needs were met by quarterback Jake Richard, who hit him on a go pattern for the game’s first score, a 55-yarder on third and ten to culminate a seven-play, 75-yard drive.
Jones’ needs were also met by that offensive line and he ticked off the names – Nick Gustaitis, Ken Regan, Max Parisse, Bryan White and Matt Eichman. Their colleague at tight end is college Division I prospect T.J. White.
“It has taken some game experience,” offered Henderson coach Joe Walsh in reference to his offensive front. “But this is probably the best performance we’ve had from them. We were lights out on both offense and defense today.”
Jones’ other two touchdowns came on a fifty-yard interception return and a 47-yard touchdown reception that was pure luck, a Shanahan deflection that fortuitously landed in Jones’ arms in the end zone to make the score 34-0. The other Henderson touchdowns came on a Richard pass that Joe
Dingfelder snatched at the 20 and motored to paydirt and on a 19-yard touchdown run from bruising sophomore Garrett Girafalco. Sean Engle kicked five extra points for Henderson.
“Shanahan can put a lot of pressure on your defense with their quarterback,” continued Walsh. “The idea was to try to control the ball on offense.” The Warriors did just that with fullback Derek Matonti, who ripped off runs of 21, 14 and 11 yards enroute to a 10-carry, 93-yard afternoon that was another tribute to his offensive line.
“We knew we were up against a buzzsaw,” offered Shanahan coach Paul Meyers, whose team dropped to 2-2 on the season. “Early on, we did what we wanted to do by hitting passes in the flat. But when they took that first quarter lead, we had to change some things.”
Shanahan quarterback Ryan Egolf managed to move the ball with a short passing attack that produced 10 first downs, but Henderson’s defense always had an eventual answer, a Parisse sack, a Regan tackle for loss or a White fumble recovery.
The Eagles’ touchdown came on an eight-play, 45-yard drive in which Egolf was four for four for 36 yards to Brian Olson and Joe Brugger. The quarterback powered it in from the one yard line to get Shanahan on the board. Mason Dreiling also excited the home field crowd with two kickoff returns into Henderson territory.
“They’ve got a lot of talented players,” Meyers added. “Henderson’s going to be one of the teams to watch at the end of the year.”